I can't wait for The Mark of Athena tour! It is always so much fun to talk with my readers, and this time my publisher Disney-Hyperion has an awesome treat in store. They've printed 1000 t-shirts for each event. That is A LOT of boxes of t-shirts. You'll need to check the hosting bookstore nearest you to make sure of details, as each event is a little different, but my understand is that the first 1000 people to buy a signed Mark of Athena at the event get a t-shirt as well. COOL!
Now if you're planning to come to an event, here's what you can expect and what not to expect, as I don't want anybody going away disappointed. We've been doing events differently the last year or so as the crowds have gotten larger and larger. Again, check with each location for exact details, but in general, here's what happens:
When I arrive on location, before the event, I will be signing a thousand Mark of Athena books. These autographed copies will be available for you to buy. In some cases, they are your ticket into the event. In some cases, you can choose to get a ticket without a book, or both. At each event, if you buy one of the signed copies, you get a t-shirt, either Camp Jupiter or Camp Half-Blood.
The event will be about an hour long. I'll tell you all about how and why I wrote the books. I'll show you behind-the-scenes cover art that was never used. I'll make stupid jokes. I'll read a never-before-released section of an upcoming Percy Jackson story. And of course I'll answer your questions, as many as we have time for. It's always a blast!
We WON'T be doing a signing line. There are a lot of reasons for that, but it all boils down to the size of the crowd. About three tours ago, I realized that so many people were coming through the signing line that nobody was really getting a chance to meet me. We had to move so fast, just to make sure everyone got through the line, that it just wasn't a quality experience for anybody, including me. I would either have to do a brief "Hi, how are ya?" speech and then launch straight into signing, or the store would sit me right down to sign. Kids would wait for two or three hours to get a two-second face-to-face with no chance to really interact. I couldn't sign all your books. I couldn't do pictures. I couldn't personalize the books. There was maybe time for one quick question, maybe. Well . . . it just wasn't working. Back in the old days, I was able to do all of that stuff, and of course everyone understandably wants a picture and wants all of their books signed, but even if I only spent thirty seconds with each fan (which is too short) if a thousand fans show up, the signing would last eight hours. You see the problem? Also, to be honest, I'm getting older, and sitting in a chair for so many hours each night was murdering my back.
Because of all this, I decided if we didn't have time to do a quality signing line (and with a thousand folks, there really is no way) we would make it a quality evening, with tons of time for the presentation and lots of Q&A. Don't bring all your books from home, because I won't be able to sign them, but I wouldn't be able to do that even if we were doing a signing line. The good news: You'll still get a signed copy of The Mark of Athena. You'll get a cool t-shirt ONLY available at the events. You'll get a chance to ask your questions and really feel like you got to know me a little. And you won't have to wait in line for hours and hours!
Hope that makes sense. I'm really excited for each of the events. Of course, every tour I wish we could go to more places, but with my writing schedule we just can't. I know you guys want the books to come out as quickly as possible, and that means I have to spend most of my time writing. Apologies to all my international fans, too. I've been invited to so many amazing countries, and I'd like to visit them all, but sadly it just isn't possible. We can't even cover a fraction of the US in the time that we have! As I always tell people, however, the main way that I communicate with you is through my books. I may not be able to meet you in person, but the best way to get to know me is to read the books. Each one is a private conversation between me and the reader, and I love you guys! You're all awesome. So if I get to see you on the tour, fantastic, but either way, I hope you'll enjoy The Mark of Athena!